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Would a Tehran 'No Fly' Zone Work?

In spite of large U.S. military commitments in Iraq and Afghanistan, our uncommitted air and naval power is still the most formidable in the world. A no-fly zone could operate with the cooperation of the Gulf Arab states, Egypt, and the Europeans. Russia and China would have no choice but to go along. The Arabs are most immediately threatened, but the Russians cannot live with a militant Islamist regime with long-range missiles and nuclear bombs within easy reach of its southern border. And Europe and Asia receive about 40 percent of their oil from the Middle East. Their economies would crash if Iran closed the bottleneck of the Gulf. They need the U.S. Navy to protect freedom of navigation.

A no-fly zone worked exceptionally well to keep Saddam down after the 1992 Gulf War.

It was heavily criticized, to be sure, but when the U.S. finally knocked Saddam over, his large army was shattered in just three weeks. The no-fly zone helped to hollow out Saddam’s military. If the U.S. had chosen to pull out before the Iraqi insurgency, the country would have fragmented in civil war, but without its strategic threat -- without SCUDs, military jets, chemical weapons, or those 500 tons of yellowcake in Saddam’s warehouse.

Iran is now the biggest strategic danger to the world, including Europe and Russia. Under its neo-Ottoman rulers, Turkey has seen the writing on the wall and joined Tehran. That has reversed a century of Islamic modernization, just as the overthrow of the shah under the benevolent smile of Jimmy Carter reversed a century of modernization in Iran. As a result, the southern flank of NATO has now crumbled. Turkey, with its formidable armed forces and keystone geography, has joined the enemies of civilization.

Ever since Jimmy Carter, the most sinister and backward forces in the Islamic world have been on the march again. Thirty years ago it was Khomeini’s reactionary takeover in Iran. Today it is Turkey. Hezbollah is poised to return Lebanon to the 10th century. Hamas is doing it in Gaza, and wants to do it in the West Bank. Reactionary Islam is spreading all over the world, aided by Saudi Wahhabist imams who run new mosques built with oil money throughout the Western world.

If the modern world cannot shut down the Shiite and Sunni reactionaries at their source, we will be compelled to fight them at home.

Read your history of Islamic expansionism: within a century of Mohammed’s death, Islam had conquered most of the known world at that time. That is the choice Bush and Cheney clearly recognized. It’s the reality that Obama and the left is in deep denial about.

With the November elections threatening a massive defeat for the Democrats and a one-term failed presidency for Obama, both domestic politics and foreign policy point to the same strategic aim: to defang the Iranian threat. If Obama fails, he will be gone in 2012.